When you're doing red carpet interviews at a premiere, you know you're only going to have a couple minutes with anybody who stops to talk to you. You also know that you'll want more time than that with some people and less time with others.
It's an environment where a fun roundup question -- a standard question for everybody -- is always handy. So when I hit the "Walking Dead" premiere in Hollywood two weeks ago, my roundup question was this one: In the event of an actual zombie apocalypse, what skills do you, personally, possess that would make you a valuable asset for survivors in the aftermath?
I'm not saying it's the best question in the world, but posed to stars Andrew Lincoln and Sarah Wayne Callies, in addition to a variety of supporting actors, producers and premiere guests like David Zayas and R.J. Mitte, there were some good responses, cobbled together here by HitFix's Alex Dorn.
I didn't expect to find myself missing Alina Wilson on "Survivor: Nicaragua," but after talking to the show's latest castoff, that may end up being the case.
Alina never fully recovered after finding herself on the low side of a number alliance on the original La Flor tribe, but she somehow managed to stave off elimination long enough to make the Merge and long enough to make the season's jury. And after a season of deluded or simply confused eliminated contestants, Alina came across as smart, funny and candid about her time in the game.
I got no evidence of the "dirt squirrel" Benry ranted against while casting his final vote.
Click through Alina's thoughts on aligning with Shannon, NaOnka's food-stealing and what it means to be a dirt squirrel...
It's time for November's first Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
We're still figuring out how to fill in the gaps with no regular end-of-podcast segment.
But this week, we talked about "Chuck," ESPN's 30 for 30 series, "Modern Family" and "Boardwalk Empire." We also answered two pieces of reader mail and we're always happy to get more reader mail e-mailed to us at @email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's this week's breakdown:
"Chuck" -- 01:45 - 10:10
30 for 30 -- 10:20 - 20:45
"Modern Family" -- 20:55 - 29:25
Reader Mail -- 29:30 - 38:00
"Boardwalk Empire" 38:00 - 50:00
As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.]
Animalistic and driven by definable sentience and need, vampires and werewolves have a place in the pop culture firmament that requires no embellishing. It doesn't take much work to understand their allure. Yes, you can anthropomorphize the monstrous capabilities of both creatures in ways that make them seem more desirable and less terrifying, but that's gilding the lily, generally to the advantage of teenage girls (that's not an insult and "teenage girls" can actually equal "blood-thirsty romantics of all ages").
That's not really the case with zombies. Although some Halloween costumes would beg to differ, you can't really make a zombie sexy. If the new kid in Forks turned out to be a zombie, you couldn't craft a narrative that would make Twihards ditch Team Edward or Team Jacob in favor of Team Grrrrr. Zombies don't pitch woo. Zombies don't stalk in sensual and relatable ways. Zombies can't master their inner appetites to kiss a nubile teen without biting into her scalp. Zombies rot. Zombies don't sparkle.
In lieu of any sort of aspirational agency, zombies are most interesting when subtext can be read onto their lurching and insatiable hunger. Fortunately, the Godfather of the Modern Zombie, George Romero, was a smart enough guy to build a malleable subtext into the zombie mythos. Zombies can represent any sort of assimilationist hive-mind, any sort of thoughtless consumerism or any sort of disease that spreads without warning and turns the living populace into a quivering mass of fear.
I bring this up having glanced at the Washington Post's review of AMC's "The Walking Dead," a well-written, poorly argued, epic piece that spends two full pages trying to tie this zombie story into the current election cycle, on the grounds that if you can't finesse "The Walking Dead" into some ideological corner, you're stuck praising a show that's only about zombies and the humans who hate them.
What's scariest about the zombies created by Robert Kirkman for his comic series and adapted by Frank Darabont (and designed by Gregory Nicotero) for AMC, is that they really don't mean anything. They're slow-moving, decomposing, massing flocks of toothy death. Alone, they're easy to kill. In packs, they're a terrifying menace. And they don't mean much of anything. They don't have a root origin. They don't have particular targets or gravitate towards particular locations, like that mall they frequented when they were living. They go where there's food. And where there isn't food, they're pretty much loitering and listening without purpose and certainly without ideology. And while you're free to contort your mind in any way you like to try to bring meaning to the endeavor, that's really more about your needs than Kirkman or Darabont's.
It was only a few weeks ago that Jill & Marty were on top of the "Survivor" world.
They had a powerful core alliance running the Espada tribe. They had an Immunity Idol in case control shifted even slightly. They weren't unbeatable, but they were comfortable.
Then the tribes were shuffled, underestimated Jane flipped, and suddenly Marty & Jill were scrambling. Jill staved off one elimination with an Individual Immunity win, but that was only delaying the inevitable.
On Wednesday (Oct. 27) night's "Survivor," Jill was voted out and, from what we saw, she barely put up a fight. What could she do?
HitFix chatted with Jill the next day about her lack of resistance, her partnership with Marty and why she may have been viewed as a threat.
Ever since word of a "Walking Dead" TV series began circulating, fans of the zombie comic have been simultaneously excited and nervous about how the dark, gory series would translate to the small screen.
One man with particular cause to be cautious was "Walking Dead" creator Robert Kirkman.
With "Walking Dead" set to debut on Halloween Night on AMC, HitFix caught up with Kirkman on the red carpet for the show's gala premiere in Hollywood.
We discussed why Frank Darabont was the right man to adapt the comic, why AMC is the right home and which parts of the comic may be particularly tough to bring to TV.
Matt Lauria and Michael Jordan of 'Friday Night Lights'
"Friday Night Lights" begins its fifth and final season on Wednesday (Oct. 27) night on DirecTV.
These last episodes are sure to be emotional, but it's possible that no show in television history has ever more thoroughly prepared its fanbase for saying farewell.
Devoted "Friday Night Lights" fans had already faced the possibility of cancellation after the first, second and third seasons. In fact, last year's finale was the first time that viewers were able to enjoy the end of one season knowing that another season was guaranteed to follow.
In the process of taking audiences on this high school-based journey, "Friday Night Lights" has also regularly graduated characters both within the show and off into the next phase of their lives, outside of the series. With varying degrees of ceremony, we've bid adieu to Smash, Street, Saracen, Lyla and Tyra in the past two seasons alone.
Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton have always been the show's backbone, but a daunting number of vital organs have been shed over the years, though the body has lived on, sometimes every bit as strong as it ever was.
There will be no last-second stay of execution for "Friday Night Lights" after the fifth season. And there are more major castmembers ready to depart before the show shuffles off its own mortal coil. So expect plenty of tears as "Friday Night Lights" approaches that final finale.
But how is the last season? Well, I've seen the first three episodes. Click through for some thoughts, with minor spoilers...
Kelly Bruno set out to prove that being an amputee wouldn't keep her from winning "Survivor."
On Wednesday (October 20), Kelly B learned that she was wrong, but not for the reasons she might have originally feared.
Having only one leg wasn't a physical impediment for Kelly, not for a single second that the "Survivor" producers chose to show us. But it didn't take long before Kelly's own teammates began to speculate that in a jury situation, the "sympathy vote" would make Kelly unbeatable.
At Wednesday's La Flor Tribal Council, spurred by Brenda's [possibly justified] paranoia, long-term threat Kelly was voted out instead of short-term (and maybe long-term) threat Marty.
HitFix chatted with Kelly B on Friday about being blindsided by her elimination, her feud with NaOnka and what her "Survivor" performance proved.